Twin-spotted Quaker

I've been a little quiet lately on this blog to say the least. But perhaps I'll start again. After a great weekend walking along the South Wales Coast last month I put a moth trap out in the garden hoping for a better catch than I had last time. This was a reasonable hope, there was no rain, it was warmer than it has been and the north-easterly wind settled little bit. So out it went, lighting up the back garden like a signal to any aliens that might be cruising overhead. Next morning however was a bit of a disappointment. I only found a solitary moth. And not the most exciting looking moth at that. I've been looking at the Facebook entries of the members catches over the last few weeks, and all I can say is that I now have moth trap envy. However, I shouldn't be too disappointed as this turned out to be a new moth for the garden.

Pictures slightly fuzzy, but it was an iPhone photo early morning before rushing off to work. Might you the whole moth is slightly fuzzy, and slightly worn. The usual kidney mark on the wings are not visible, but there are definitely 2 dark spots near each of the wing tips which are the diagnostics for this species. This makes it a Twin-spotted Quaker, Anorthoa munda. This species seems to have changed it name recently and in some Field-guides its known as Orthosia Munda. If your interested, it's Welsh name is Crwnwr Dau Smotyn - now that's one from the next Pub Quiz.
They don't have a long flight season, being on the wing in April and May, with only one generation a year. The caterpillars feed in early summer on various trees, including oak (Quercus), aspen (Populus tremulata) and sallow (Salix). Incidentally this is a great resource available on the internet and details host plants of a growing number of Lepidoptera species. The larvae feed during the night, hiding during the day among leaves or in bark crevices. It overwinters as a pupa in an underground cocoon, with the adult fully formed inside. 
A.munda is common in the in the Southern part of the UK, but becomes more local from the Midlands northwards. 

Robinson, GS et al. HOSTS - A Database of the World's Lepidoptera Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London. Accessed 30.03.2017.
Waring,P. Townsend,M. And Lewington,R. (2011) Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland (2nd ed) British Wildlife Publishing.
Anorthoa munda. National Biodiversity Network. Accessed 30.03.2017.


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